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Disaster Relief Scam Alert

 

Educating yourself about identity theft and fraud scams can be one of your best lines of defense.

At Shred Instead, we want our customers to be safe in all regards, not just document destruction. To help, we will provide monthly updates on the latest scam alerts so you know what to expect, in case it happens to you.

This month we will be focusing on Disaster Relief Scams. In light of Hurricane Sandy, we urge you to take caution when donating to disaster-related charitable organizations.

When disasters strike, many legitimate organizations will respond by seeking donations to help the victims. Contributing to these charities is important, for those who are able; however you should proceed with caution to avoid identity theft.

Scam artists may pose as representatives from known charities, calling you on the phone and asking for a donation. If you accept, they will ask for your personal and banking information and in turn, gain access to your accounts.

Scam artists may also create a fake organization that sounds legitimate and contact you by phone or email. Some will go as far as creating a fake website to fend against suspicion. Simply having a website should not be enough of a reason for you to give out your information. Be cautious about online donations, especially from spam messages or emails claiming to link to a relief organization.

When it comes to evaluating a charity’s validity, we recommend relying on the experts. Rather than giving out your personal financial information over the phone, do some research first! Websites such as the Better Business Bureau and the IRS allow you to check the status of charitable organizations you aren’t familiar with or may be skeptical of.

While it is important to help those who have fallen victim to disasters, you must also protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft.